What’s Your Reason?

September 6, 2019

By Mandy Eichelberger
District 7
Young Leader Committee Member


I recently attended the Illinois Farm Bureau District 7 Fall Meeting where guest speaker Trooper Tracy Lillard of the Illinois State Police presented a message that hit close to home. Through her light-hearted and captivating demeanor, she shared the four leading causes of traffic deaths and encouraged us to think about our reasons to make it home safely each night.

Although her message was focused on being safe behind the wheel of a vehicle, our reasons can go well beyond the time spent in a car. On your family farm, what are the reasons that keep you going every day? What do you look forward to each morning? Who is there cheering you on when you get home in the evening? What influences every decision you make on and off the farm?  

In the agriculture industry, we have learned to expect the unexpected and roll with the punches. With record rainfall, a late spring, and low commodity prices, 2019 has been a year like no other.

But we keep going.  

I believe that the farming community shares numerous reasons. For many, it's about carrying on the family tradition and providing for future generations. It’s about raising, nurturing, and selflessly caring for livestock. It's about planting a crop in faith and watching those tiny seeds come to life. It’s about fulfilling the basic needs of families across the world AND across town. It’s about having a sense of pride for your work and knowing that at the end of the day, YOU made a difference.

But it goes deeper beyond that.  

My reason is family - in particular, my husband Lee and our nearly one-year-old daughter, Madison. Regardless of the day and the outcome, they are who matter most. The smile on my little girl’s face and her sweet, innocent love can make any day complete. In addition to them, it’s my parents, my sister and brother, my in-laws and our family. They are the driving force behind the choices I make and the steps I take. 

As you prepare to head to the fields this fall, I encourage you to take extra time to think about your reasons. Whether you’re moving equipment down the road, climbing into a grain bin, making a quick decision in a moment of stress, or completing a task you’ve mastered numerous times before, think about your reasons. Be safe out there, and remember that you are someone’s reason, too!